Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On Being a New Mom

Our little boy is two and a half weeks old. How can that be? There's a lot I've learned in the past two and a half weeks. Of course, things are always changing, and I don't know everything, but here's what I've learned so far...

  • Your mom instinct kicks in quickly and you learn your baby's needs right away. I wasn't expecting to feel so comfortable with our little boy or to know what he needs. I really thought it would be more of him screaming and me crying trying to figure out what's going on. I'm sure this will happen as he gets older, but for right now, he's been pretty consistent with his cries and fusses.
  • You don't have to listen to everything the doctor says. When we first brought Matthew home from the hospital he woke up on his own when he was hungry every 3-ish hours and we would feed him however much he wanted to eat. Granted, it wasn't much and he didn't ever overeat, but when we went to the hospital for jaundice they were appalled! Then, the pediatrician said that he needed to be woken up during the day every 2 hours to eat and that just messed up his whole schedule.
  • Trust your instincts. He didn't do well on the first formula that we were supplementing with and the pediatrician's receptionist said to keep trying it despite the fact that he was in pain and would wake up every hour when we fed him the formula crying and wincing. We switched and he's been a lot happier.
  • Feeding your baby is the most important thing. Yes, breast is best, but we were unable to do that. I felt guilty all weekend for wanting to give up despite the fact that he wasn't getting enough out (our baby isn't an efficient eater in general) and pumping was exhausting. If you need to use formula, that's ok.
  • Happy mom = happy baby. When you're stressed, they're more likely to be as well. All weekend I was exhausted and my husband did most of the baby duty. I feel better now, but still get so tired and need to make sure to get my rest as well.
  • You will earn not to judge. I used to have such strong opinions about myself and others and now I'm learning that it's a lot harder than I ever thought. Do I still have my opinions? Yes, but I can understand why people choose different things and I don't feel the need to get on my soapbox about all of them.
  • You don't want to leave your baby. I hate leaving him to go to the store. I can't wait to be able to take him with me, but with him being a late pre-term baby, they don't want to chance the extra germs.
  • Use common sense and talk to your mom when needed. My mom and Phil's mom have both been amazing with questions or just with venting. We're all on the same side and we all seem to agree with most things.
  • Do what you want, it's your baby. If someone gives you "advice" or tells you something you don't want to do, then just smile and say thank you. Sometimes you have to be firm if they are pushy, but trying to do it in a kind way will work out best. 
I've learned a lot these past couple of weeks and know I will continue to learn so much more as he changes and gets older.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Accepting Help

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my husband and I are living with my in-laws while we save for a house. Of course this is good and challenging in so many ways. 

When I first found out I was pregnant, my mother-in-law let me know that she wants to be grandma and not the sole childcare provider. Fair enough. I want to take care of my child and she deserves to be a grandma and to spoil him as she pleases. I also let her know many times that this is our child and that I do not expect for her to care for him as a parent, but that she is more than welcome to hold him, feed him, and play with him as often as she wants.

Throughout the pregnancy, my in-laws were excited, but not in an overly excited way. They were pretty mellow about the baby for the most part. Then he made his arrival and oh my goodness were they excited! They came to the hospital while I was in labor and waited for him to be born. They got to see him minutes after he was born (once I was taken care of) and waited the two hours that he was being checked out in the nursery to see him again (even though it was getting pretty late). 

Once we came home, I noticed that they were really stepping into their grandparent roles quite well. They each like to spend some time with him every day holding him and they even go into his room while he's sleeping just to "check on him" and get a "peek." It's been great. They've even watched him a couple of times when we needed to go to the store since I wasn't cleared to drive and the pediatrician doesn't want him in large crowds for 4-8 weeks after birth because he's a late pre-term.

Matthew has been a pretty easy baby so far. He eats, sleeps until his next feeding, we change him, and the cycle starts all over again. We had a couple of nights where he was waking every 2 hours and seemed super fussy. The next night was worse with him waking every 1 hour and fussing for the second hour. This left both the baby and I exhausted the next day.

My mother-in-law wanting to be helpful offered to watch him while I napped. I felt horrible about this because I sleep when the baby sleeps and I need a nap, but the kid just would not sleep! He was up from 10:30am until we left for the pediatrician at 2pm. He would cry whenever the pacifier wasn't in his mouth and was wanting to eat constantly.

At the pediatrician's office I broke down when she (again) offered to let me nap. I told her that I didn't want to take advantage of her and that I love taking care of him. She let me know that I needed rest too and that she didn't mind. She also offered to watch him that evening so I could go to the grocery store and Target with my husband. I let her know that I didn't like leaving him and she said she understood, but reminded me that it's important to take care of myself so that I can properly take care of the baby. She was so understanding and kind.

Clearly, I need to work on accepting help. Could I do it all on my own? Of course, but I would probably be burnt out which wouldn't be good for anyone. I'm feeling blessed and much better today and the baby is too!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Birth Story

Fun fact...
I had no idea I was in labor the day I gave birth.

I was having contractions the night before every 2-7 minutes. At my hospital, they say not to come in unless they are ALL 5 minutes apart and last at least 60 seconds each. Since some of them were 2 minutes and some were 30 seconds, we decided to go to bed. After all, I had an MFM appointment to check my fluid levels one more time before induction on Monday.

I was able to sleep through the night no problem and when I woke up on Friday, I still was having contractions. Since we had the appointment set for 9am and my doctor's office doesn't open until then, I decided to just go to the appointment and let them know. My mother-in-law told us to make sure to take our hospital bags and I told her that I was NOT having a baby that day! I couldn't understand why she was so insistent, but I made sure that we grabbed them anyways.

By the time we got to the hospital my contractions were pretty regular. They were uncomfortable, definitely, but I could still talk and walk through them so I certainly couldn't have been in labor, right? I mean, the nurses at the hospital in town told me that when I was in "true labor" I would definitely know it, feel tightening in my stomach, and not be able to walk or talk through the contractions. None of this applied to me so I was sure it was just my body doing it's thing and would stop after a while like it had been.

When we got to the appointment, I mentioned to the nurse that I was having pretty regular contractions and they were uncomfortable. She hooked me up to the monitor and verified that they were happening every 4 minutes and that the baby looked great. We checked my fluid levels and they were good too. The MFM came by, looked at my NST and AFI and asked if I wanted to be checked for progress. I told him that I would appreciate that so he checked and told me that I was already dilated 5 cm and was still 100% effaced! They had me go over to labor and delivery to be admitted to see what they were going to do.

By the time we were admitted around 11-11:30am the back labor had started to kick in. I was pretty uncomfortable, but it wasn't unbearable either. Some nurses came in to do my vitals and ask a ton of questions and the anesthesiologist came in to place my IV and told me that he was going to call my OB to get me an epidural ASAP.

 Once the doctor came in, we asked if there was any possibility that we would be sent home and the answer was a resounding no! My husband was so excited that he threw his hands in the air and said, "YES!"

They got the OK to do the epidural and I no longer felt the contractions. My OB was on his way so we were waiting on him to come check me out.

When my OB arrived, he checked me and said that I was 7cm and that he was going to break my water. It took a few tries, but he finally did. By 4pm I was fully dilated and they said I could start pushing whenever I wanted. They had just given me more pain medication and I couldn't feel any pressure so I said I wanted to wait so I could tell when and how to push.

At 4:30pm I started pushing. The baby's head was still a little high so I had to push a while to get it more engaged. I pushed for a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes and our little boy arrived!

Since he was early at 36 weeks 5 days, they had the NICU team standing by to check him out. I was able to hold him briefly after they looked over him and so was my husband, but they had to take him to the nursery to make sure that he was breathing OK. I let my in-laws in the room while he was being checked out so they could see him since it would be a while before he was brought back to us.

About 2 hours later they brought our little man back to us and said he was healthy and we could keep him with us!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

He's Here!

Matthew James
Born August 9, 2013
at 6:50pm
Weighing 5 lbs. 10 oz
18.5 inches long
He's perfect and doing well!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

36 Week Bumpdate!

How Far Along: 36 weeks 4 days

Size of Baby: Honeydew

Total Weight Gain/Loss: +31 lbs

Maternity Clothes: Almost exclusively.
Gender: It's a BOY!!!

Movement: Lots of rolling around, hiccups, and punches.


Sleep: Waking up a lot, but that's normal.

What I Miss: Sleeping on my stomach.

Cravings: Pumpkin everything! With Fall just around the corner I am seriously so excited!


Symptoms: Oh, you know, just contractions and such! We're still on "labor watch" so it's interesting to try to figure out when it's going to happen!

Best Moment This Week: Knowing he's doing well and that he will be making his appearance soon!

Monday, August 5, 2013

No Baby Yet!

We've officially made it to 36 weeks as of yesterday and we couldn't be happier! Phil's parents are back in town so it's safe to say that if my water breaks, no one will have to miss his birth.

We're still at a "wait and see" point with the whole am I going to go into labor thing, but I'm still on bed rest so that's definitely helping. Baby Reese has moved up a little higher and has been there since leaving the hospital last week.

We have an appointment with the OB tomorrow morning for what will likely be my last OB appointment before the baby comes. Since he is measuring small (we're talking 4th percentile now) they don't want to let him go past 37 weeks in case there are any placental issues. Right now everything is looking good and I have another NST Wednesday with the MFM and one Saturday at the hospital so as long as everything looks good, we are thinking that Monday might be day!

There's always a chance that we could go into any appointment and be induced that day, but either way it's not too much longer! We are so ready to meet this little boy and have him be healthy and safe in our arms.